Portrait 13/52 - Nick

Last Sunday I put out a general call for volunteers on Facebook and my friend Nick volunteered. Nick works at the local casino and he’s into poker, so I thought we should go for a poker themed shoot. Nick was a patient and willing subject, so we tried a lot of different poses and ideas. 

My favorite of the day is this one:


I asked Nick to setup an epic hand. So he gave the unseen opponent a full house and himself a royal flush. Then we started shooting the reveal. Nick gave some pretty hardcore “pay up” looks:

Nick mentioned to me that the watch is an integral part the poker player’s attire. The rest of the clothing is meant to maintain comfort and hide tells, but the watch is meant to convey success — an intimidation factor of sorts. So we tried to make sure we featured Nick’s watch prominently in the pictures.


We finished off the shoot with Nick throwing cards at me. We tried a lot of different ways and I like this one the best:


Technical Details:

The main light was my 8x36 gridded soft box set to 1/2 power. This was typically camera right from Nick. I had a large umbrella set to 1/4 or 1/8 power to provide some general illumination from just camera left. I had a third bare flash set relatively low behind and to the left of Nick to provide some rim/hair lighting. Camera settings were ISO 100, f7.1, and 1/160s. 


This was a fun shoot. Nick was a good subject as he was willing to try anything and stayed engaged in the whole process. There were a couple lessons I learned though. First, black backgrounds and black clothing make my edting much more difficult. It would have been better if Nick had been wearing a shirt that was any color but black. Second, I think that the black background itself was too simple and blank. I would have preferred to have something to simulate dim casino lighting in the background. Next time I’ll have to expirement with other options and maybe bring out my fog machine.

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